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Putin: Treat Russia As Partner, Ally

July 25, 2002

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MOSCOW (AP) _ President Vladimir Putin told a group of foreign ambassadors Thursday that Russia had moved beyond the era of confrontation and should be viewed as a partner and ally in resolving international problems.

Putin has actively sought to improve Russia’s international image and increase its influence, and his comments at a Kremlin ceremony to receive credentials from seven new ambassadors to Russia reflected that campaign.

``Russia has completely left the confrontational period in international relations, and the countries of the world can view Russia as not only a partner, but also as an ally in resolving key problems of the present era,″ the Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying.

Putin also said Russia was trying to improve the foreign investment climate in the country with more liberal laws, less bureaucracy and a drive to join the World Trade Organization.

The Russian leader also stressed the importance of the role of the United Nations in solving international conflicts. Russia in recent years has complained that Western nations, in particular the United States, have sidestepped the U.N.

Putin received credentials of ambassadors from Ethiopia, Moldova, Australia, Armenia, Malta, Tanzania and Turkey.

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